In the 1870s a handful of pioneering souls – many Confederate soldiers recovering from the Civil War – came by oxcart or sailboat to what was then called Florida’s Last Frontier. This area, which would become Naples, was then a watery, sub-tropical tangle that daunted even veteran surveyors, who spoke of “dense swamps” and “ponds full of monstrous alligators.”
Barron Gift Collier, an advertising magnate from Memphis, first visited the area in 1911. He fell in love with Southwest Florida and soon bought Useppa Island, just north of Sanibel and Captiva. Collier’s enthusiasm for yachting and fishing inspired him to found the Izaak Walton Fishing Club in honor of the 17th century author of The Compleat Angler.
In the next dozen years, Collier acquired more than a million acres in Southwest Florida. The state’s largest landowner, he gained a reputation not only for bold land purchases but for careful development.
SS BARONESS - Barron Collier's
favorite yacht was the 99-foot-long SS
Collier’s commitment to the future of our region can be traced through his many contributions, among them railroads, mail service, utilities, and even completion of the Tamiami Trail linking Lee and Dade counties. For his influence and investment in the state's future, the state named Collier County in his honor on May 8, 1923.
Half a century later, in 1976, Barron Gift Collier’s grandson, Miles C. Collier, founded a new investment and land development company, Collier Enterprises. Today, this private firm continues very much in the Collier tradition of responsible land stewardship
Part memory and part legacy, the rich past set a course for Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club. Its old Florida architecture reflects its roots. Its facilities and services reflect the highest standards of excellence. And its respect for the land reflects a family and company commitment that spans generations.
At Hamilton Harbor, some 160 acres of natural wetlands, uplands, and one and one-half miles of mangrove-lined waterfront have been protected and enhanced at the yacht club’s location on the edge of the Rookery Bay National Reserve. Important archaeological sites on the property have been identified and preserved.
In partnership with the City of Naples, Hamilton Harbor has implemented a sea grass bed protection program. We have deepened the channel and installed new channel markers and signs to help boaters avoid damaging sensitive sea grasses.
In addition, to help restore natural tidal flows through nearby mangrove areas, we designed and built the sea wall surrounding our marina to be submerged at high tide.
Hamilton Harbor is also certified as a Clean Marina – one of a small percentage of Florida marinas to meet the demanding standards of the state’s voluntary Clean Marina Program. Certification signifies that we’re doing everything possible to ensure that our waters are clean and safe.
Collier Enterprises has also incorporated a number of impressive community benefits into its plan for Hamilton Harbor:
- A public fuel dock
- Improved boat access to Bayview Park through a deeper canal and channel
- A marine construction loading facility
- Improved water quality runoff from streets in surrounding neighborhoods
- A dock for law enforcement patrol vessel, allowing rapid response on the water
In addition to Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club, Collier Enterprises has developed Collier’s Reserve, The Old Collier Golf Club, and other distinguished projects. The excellence and sensitivity of our development approach have brought public recognition and environmental awards from organizations such as Audubon International and the Council for Sustainable Florida.